The Predator actor Jake Busey supports Fox's decision to cut a scene involving a sex offender. It's been several years since the titular alien hunters have been seen on the big screen, and Fox gave the reigns of the franchise over to Shane Black. The Iron Man 3 director has strong ties to the franchise after appearing in the original film himself. For this latest installment, he gathered a strong ensemble cast, including Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes, Keegan Michael Key, Olivia Munn, and more. However, it was one small casting decision that's now causing a bit of controversy for Black and The Predator.
It was recently revealed that Black hired his friend Steven Wilder Striegel for a brief role in The Predator, and thanks to a complaint made to Fox by Munn, it's now become public knowledge that Striegel is a registered sex offender. Just days before the world premiere of the film at TIFF 2018, Fox made the decision to quickly remove the scene, featuring Striegel hitting on Munn's character. Even though Black initially defended his choice, Munn has since expressed her relief that Fox cut the scene, and now another cast member is supporting the decision.
Jake Busey spoke to Variety at TIFF, and was asked about Fox cutting Striegel's scene in The Predator. Busey comes down in support of Fox's decision to a certain degree. He said, "I think politically they had to. There's really no other choice." While that sounds great, he then digressed a bit into his personal opinion, making it seem like he might have not made the same choice: "Morally? I don't know. I don't run a studio. I don't make films. I don't really know much about it all. So unfortunately, it's a sad thing."
Even though that isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of the move by Busey, he does clearly stand by and understand Fox's decision. Striegel pleaded guilty in 2010 to attempting to have a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl. He then spent six months in jail, but that hasn't stopped him from acting. In fact, he appeared in Black's last two films, Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guys. His involvement didn't start any controversy for those films, but in the #MeToo era, this was really not a smart hire on Black's part - and Fox made the completely reasonable decision to remove Striegel's scene once they were made aware of the situation.
While his former involvement has stirred up some controversy for The Predator, Striegel no longer being in the movie will hopefully result in this issue quickly passing by as the main topic of conversation surrounding Fox's highly touted sequel. After all, it's getting pretty positive reviews already, and will hit theaters nationwide next week.
- The Predator (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018